As with every year in Nevada, there are many events that define us as a community. It’s the newspaper’s job to sort through and provide a written account of the things that we don’t want to forget as we chronicle another year of what is the ongoing account of the Nevada area’s history.
As I look back, here are some of the things I think best define our local year in 2013.
* The historic Nevada theater reopened as the Talent Factory. Owners Larry and Cindy Sloan brought talent in and began a year of providing live shows on the theater’s stage.
* Land values hit an all-time high when Dale Swanson purchased 375.26 acres of land north of Nevada for $17,000/acre at a Nevada auction.
* Colo-Nesco School District laid out a plan for reorganizing its grade locations/building assignments in an effort to better meet student needs and attract more students to the district; those plans were implemented at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
* The Story County Medical Center board of trustees voted to end its contract with Mercy in favor of a new management agreement with Iowa Health System. This vote ended the tenure of longtime hospital administrator Todd Willert, who was a Mercy employee at the local hospital.
* The Nevada school board announced the hiring of a new superintendent, Steve Gray of Janesville, to replace retiring superintendent Jim Walker.
* Nevada graduate Stephanie Ellingson became the first inductee into Nevada High School’s new Hall of Honor, which will recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves with academic excellence and achievement.
* The Colo-Nesco girls’ basketball team returned to the state tournament for the first time since 2005.
* Nevada Mayor Jerry Gull announced his retirement from the city’s lead position, due to plans to move out of the community. Council member Andy Kelly was appointed to fill the seat until the election.
* DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol Facility was featured on the front of the Journal’s 2013 Business Update. Construction at the DuPont site, at the west edge of Nevada next to Lincolnway Energy, continued all year.
* Nevada’s FFA held its first renewable energy conference at the high school and hosted Gov. Branstad as a speaker.
* The Nevada Library celebrated a groundbreaking for the start of its construction project for a major addition.
* Heavy rains caused lots of area field flooding and delayed this year’s planting.
* In the face of increasing concerns about the safety of children in schools, Colo-Nesco worked with the Story County Sheriff’s Office and held its first shooter drill training event.
* Nevada senior Colynn Black proved to be one of the area’s most formidable spring athletes. One day, after qualifying for state track in two events, Black stepped onto the Cedar Pointe Golf Course in Boone and went 18 holes to qualify for the boys’ state golf tournament. Several area track athletes qualified for the state tournament, Christine Ausman qualified for the girls’ state golf tournament and took sixth; both Nevada boys’ and girls’ soccer teams made it to state. It was a big spring for local sports!
* Nevada eighth-graders Rebeka Bell and Madison Huynh qualified for the National History Day competition.
* Huge storms caused heavy flooding in McCallsburg and Zearing.
* Nevada got hit by a whopper of a storm May 29, with heavy local flooding. The Chris and Tami Ritter home at Fernald was badly damaged by fire on the same day.
* The Nevada High School drama department hit a home run by earning an invitation to the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase at the Civic Center in Des Moines. The drama department earned several awards, as did some individual drama members.
* Nevada welcomed the new MidTown Market (farmers’ market) to town, sponsored by the Nevada Chamber of Commerce. The market took place every Tuesday evening at the City Hall parking lot area.
* A groundbreaking ceremony was held for Pioneer Seed, the first business to locate in the Colo Business Park.
* The Nevada High School softball team held its first Coaches vs. Cancer event, raising funds for the fight against cancer, and recognizing local residents and residents from the opposing team of Roland-Story for their fights against cancer.
* The Nevada Cubs baseball team got the win of a lifetime, upsetting top-ranked North Polk, 6-3, on June 27.
* Summer meals program — Food That’s In When School is Out — started in Nevada to provide meals a couple of times a week for any child under age 18 who needed a good meal.
* The Pink Heals Tour — with its big pink fire trucks — came into Nevada to provide support to several local cancer survivors/sufferers. Wes Hubbard, a Nevada resident and Ames firefighter, took part in helping with the event in Nevada.
* For the first time, a National 14U Class A softball tournament came to the Nevada SCORE Park, bringing hundreds of team members, coaches and fans to the community for the four-day event.
* Longtime Journal columnist Bud Strum passed away. A Journal story highlighted memories of this spirited writer who penned “Pocket Lint” for a number of years.
* The Talent Factory hosted a reunion of the Nevada Variety Show during this year’s Lincoln Highway Days.
* The school board discussed moving the high school baseball field from its longtime home at Billy Sunday Field to a new place in the SCORE park.
* Residents heard about a new housing development proposed for the Indian Ridge area on the west side of town.
* The Nevada Chamber of Commerce bestowed annual awards on Brett Barker (Harold Fawcett Community Involvement Award) and Bill and Nancy Couser (Ron Daehler Memorial Business Person Award).
* Ric Martinez was named the city’s new public safety director/police chief.
* Bike trails along South 11th Street were completed.
* Cub football team headed to the state playoffs for the second year in a row; and Nevada cross country runner, Caitlin Dewell, qualified for state meet.
* Cub volleyball team qualified for the state tournament after a win over Bondurant-Farrar. After the state tournament, nine-year coach James Brockway announced his retirement.
* Lynn Lathrop was elected mayor of Nevada.
* Historic Nevada home reopened as Queen Anne Bed & Breakfast under new owners, Barbara and Larry Howard.
* Nevada’s historic Siesta Motel was razed.
* A meeting was held to discuss a licensed child care facility for Nevada. Result of the meeting was to continue discussions.
* Nevada funeral home owner, Cynthia Ryan, sold the business that has been in her family since 1943 to Scott and Connie Huffman.
* The multi-phase Nevada High School renovation project was finally completed when the kitchen/cafeteria/commons area opened.
* Longtime businesswoman Doreen Gillespie, owner of Hair Care on Fifth, closed her shop for good and celebrated with a community party.
* Nevada schools announced the end of discussion on the “balanced school calendar.”
* Bacon Funeral Home and Family of Faith church brought a live nativity to Nevada, drawing interest from many.
* Nevada’s historic theater, now the Talent Factory, suffered a fire in the lobby just before Christmas. Owner Larry Sloan said he will make repairs to the flooring and concession counter and the shows will go on!
(Marlys Barker is editor of the Nevada Journal.)